Birth to Six Toolkit


The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC), in collaboration with the California Co-Investment Partnership, the Stuart Foundation, and the California Department of Social Services, contracted with Shared Vision Consultants to assist in the development of a standardized process for implementing child welfare initiatives in California.

This process was conceptualized in order to develop a toolkit that will provide guidance, structure, and standardized implementation materials for current and future child welfare initiatives in California.

This Birth to Six toolkit was designed to support the distribution of early childhood resources to county child welfare social work staff and caregivers. It is designed to share relevant information, sustain relevant practice, and institutionalize the innovative work processes and knowledge gained from the Youth Law Center's Birth to Six Project.

This toolkit serves to map an implementation process that will spread good practice related to working with young children who are especially vulnerable. This toolkit has several components, all of which are designed to:

  1. Clearly define this innovative practice;
  2. Communicate the new practice to leadership, staff, and stakeholders; and
  3. Assess the effectiveness of the new practice.

What you will find on this website

Each link in the menu box contains an overview with a description of what you’ll find in that section. You’ll find background information, an explanation about why the new practice, program or intervention is needed, information about the target population, important definitions and descriptions, assessment tools, planning tools to help with execution, suggestions for an approach to evaluation, and tangible resources as you navigate the toolkit. Specific examples are included in each toolkit and its components. When possible, suggestions for implementation from start to finish are provided.

Why Birth to Six is important

This initiative is important because it focuses on the need for child welfare and related systems to respond more sensitively to the developmental, social, and emotional well-being of children from birth to six years of age. As they assess their current delivery system, child welfare agencies will look to further enhance their practices to foster healthy attachment in young children. While some children must be separated from their parents for protection, the initiative will provide tools to aid in decreasing the trauma and stress for children, from birth to six, when they enter foster care. 

How can Birth to Six benefit me, my county, or my organization?

Young children are particularly vulnerable, and as such, need special provisions for protection for the child welfare system. Birth to Six is beneficial because it is a new or different way of practice that involves action steps that might potentially impact better outcomes for young children and their families. Staff learns new knowledge and skills to do their jobs, hopefully making a more profound effect on child welfare outcomes. The leadership in counties or organizations support practice by providing the tools necessary for implementation. The practice can be evaluated to discover if the new/different way of practice, in fact, improved outcomes for young children and their families

Where to start?

People who use this site may be looking for something specifically or they may be looking to start a program from scratch. If users don’t know where to start, they can click on the 5 stages of implementation for suggestions for implementing a practice, program or intervention from start to finish. If users want to choose the tools individually, they can select specific tools located in the following categories:

Defininitional Tools - Definitional Tools describe the problem that the county or organization is trying to solve. They explain the logic and theory used in making a decision about a practice, program, or intervention. They define the practice, program, or intervention in ways that are concise and easily understandable and that can be executed by using the tools that have been provided in the toolkit. They articulate the benefits for their target population.

Engagement and Communication Tools - Engagement and Communication Tools provide leaders with materials for communicating to stakeholders about the practice, program, or intervention. They might include informational statistics about the issue to be addressed, the vision for implementation, and promotional or advertisement items. Engagement and communication tools are used to send a message to staff and others about what the future direction of the county or organization related to the new practice, program or intervention. The tools can be downloaded to lead focused discussions for a variety of audiences.

Assessment Tools - Assessment Tools guide information-gathering from quantitative and qualitative sources. They assist in determining whether your county or organization is ready for the new practice, program, or intervention. The assessment tools contained in specific toolkits may be different depending on the practice. They can be tailored so that they meet county or organizational assessment needs.

Planning Tools - Planning tools are things to help implementers put their county or organizational goals into achievable, sequential action steps that enable measurement of progress toward full implementation.

Training/Coaching and TOL - Training is one of the links between policy and practice. Training tools are helpful in teaching policies and procedures, imparting values and principles, modeling awareness, and conveying steps for implementation. The tools in this section can be used transfer of knowledge and skills from the classroom to the field.

Policies and Procedural Tools - These tools describe policies and procedures recommended or required for successful implementation of the initiative, program, or intervention. They are a set of documents that describe an organization's policies/rules for operation and/or practice and the procedures necessary to fulfill those policies.

Evaluation Tools - Evaluation tools provide a framework for consideration in a county or organization, provide suggestions on how to extract or export data, and assist a county in knowing that other reports can be used to get results for their implementation efforts. The goal is to increase the fidelity of evaluation efforts by providing assistance in the form of the materials in this section.

Fiscal & Funding Tools - In times of scarcity, finding money to fund new projects may be difficult because organizations are already taxed, and managers have to operate with stricter budget requirements and limits. This is particularly true for the child welfare system; the same or similar level of productivity is expected with less resource allocations. Potential funding sources may be available for your practice, program, or intervention. Sometimes, people have been able to secure funding in creative ways.